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What GSM and CDMA mean for you and your cell phone

What GSM and CDMA mean for you and your cell phone


We are one of only two countries in the
world where you have to worry about a really stupid question when you’re
looking at a cell phone plan and a cell phone. In the United States we have a war
of technologies, we have Sprint and Verizon that use an obsolete, backwater
technology called CDMA — stands for code division multiple access. Everywhere else
in the world except South Korea, people use something known as GSM — global system
for mobile communication. Everywhere else in the world any cell phone you buy is
going to work on any cell phone network you go to, but not here! So if you are
interested in service from Verizon or Sprint you have to have a phone that’s
compatible with them with T-Mobile or AT&T any phone will work just fine
because any phone works on — why is it called global system for mobile
communication? — that’s the standard everybody in the world agreed on except
Verizon and Sprint. So you can buy phones in the free market now and Amazon in
particular has specialized in selling phones in their marketplace for Prime
members that work on both CDMA and GSM. So you can buy an ultra inexpensive
phone and then be a free agent and go wherever the cheapest service plan is.
Now the good news is CDMA is such a dumb legacy system that when people decide to
leave Sprint or Verizon they’ve got these phones they’ve gotta dump and you can
find phones really cheap used that run on CDMA. Just know the lingo and make
sure you have the right phone for the right network.

12 thoughts on “What GSM and CDMA mean for you and your cell phone”

  1. The CDMA comments are not completely accurate. CDMA tech was used first prior to GSM. Guess where cell phone usage started first…….? The USA. CDMA technology was in place for a while as the rest of the world caught up and used GSM, as well as the US GSM market. This is why the USA has two different technologies. The CDMA technology works very well and can actually reach further in the RF spectrum allowing users to travel further out than GSM.

  2. I'm a little confused. How can the countries biggest cellphone providers be the ones using the most "antiquated system. Get your facts straight.

  3. I switched from CDMA straight talk to a GSM T-Mobile and I seem to of got alot better coverage and signal thru the CDMA…
    Are either more sceptical to privacy invasions

  4. Seems like someone should have mentioned whether GSM phones could work in CDMA? And yet for some reason that was not covered…

  5. So what attracts people in Verizon and Sprint (CDMA operators)? are they able to buy and use the LATEST smartphone (e.g. iPhone XS max, Sam S10, 1+7, …ect)
    I don't see what is good in CDMA over GSM! can anyone explai to me?!!

  6. Thanks! I really needed this information. I have been wanting to use a very small phone but I was on a Verizon CDMA plan and had no idea that some US companies use the GSM network.

  7. Wow glad to hear someone telling the truth out in this industry. CDMA is complete garbage. They insist CDMA is LTE but its barely faster than 3G. GSM all the way.

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